Dr. Ambedkar’s birthday celebrated across Greater Vancouver

Jai Birdi

Dalit activist Jai Birdi outside the Ambedkar room at Surrey Central Library. Submitted photo

 

GURPREET SINGH
VANCOUVER DESI

The birth anniversary of Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar, an architect of the Indian constitution and a towering social justice icon was celebrated across Greater Vancouver by Dalit activists.

A three-days-event marked as “Social Justice Series’’ was held at a hall named after Ambedkar in Surrey Central Library from April 12- 14, while today, the Burnaby based Guru Ravidas Sabha held special prayers and a public meeting in memory of Ambedkar, whose 122th birth anniversary falls this month.

A knowledge test for youth on Ambedkar was also organized by the Guru Ravidas Sabha.

The members of the Ambedkar Federation not only cut a cake at the end of the event in Surrey, but showed films, including “Shudra’’ based on the lives of the so called Untouchables. Later, a panel discussion was held followed by speeches by prominent speakers, including former Bahujan Samaj Party MP from India, Harbhajan Lakha and a visiting Indian Supreme Court lawyer, Manoj Gorkela.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar hall came into existence last year and is considered a major milestone in the history of Ambekarites settled in Canada.

The speakers vowed to continue struggle against caste based oppression and social injustices in India. Among those who addressed the gathering were Kamlesh Ahir, Raminder Bhullar, Paramjit Kainth, Jai Birdi, John Jalala, Mohan Lal Karimpuri and the newly elected President of the Guru Ravidass Sabha, Bill Basra.

Gorkela insisted that though the Indian constitution guarantees freedom and equality for everyone, including women and the minority groups Ambedkar’s name has been unfairly associated with the Dalit community alone. “So much so the Supreme Court of India has not statue of this great personality’’.

Earlier, Dr. Prabhjot Parmar of the Fraser Valley University also organized a series of events on Dalit poetics and politics coinciding with Ambedkar’s birth anniversary while the followers of Ambekar gathered at the Simon Frazer University to garland his statue. The President of Chetna Association, Surinder Ranga was the key organizer of the garlanding ceremony.

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